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8. KAROO NATIONAL PARK

8.     KAROO NATIONAL PARK

Western Cape
Size 767,9 sq.km
Established 1979

The Karoo National Park is a sanctuary for herds of springbok, gemsbok (or Oryx), Cape Mountain Zebra, buffalo, red hartebeest, black rhinoceros, eland, kudu, klipspringer, bat-eared foxes, black-backed jackal, ostriches, and, since fairly recently, lions. It also has the greatest number of tortoise species of any park in the world – five in total. The endangered riverine rabbit has been successfully resettled here. A large number of Verreaux’s eagles have nests on the cliffs of the Escarpment. Martial eagles, booted eagles, and the shy Cape eagle-owl are other raptors that can be seen in the Park. A wide variety of smaller birds occur in abundance, making the Park a birder’s paradise. The park has also been populated with Rau Quagga which are Plains or Burchell’s zebras that have been back-bred to resemble the quaggas that roamed the karoo in great profusion until the middle of the 1800s, when they were hunted to extinction.

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